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Knife attacker is caring dad court hears

PUBLISHED: 15:53 05 July 2001 | UPDATED: 10:18 03 March 2010

THE girlfriend of a man who stabbed an off duty police inspector 15 times, told an Ipswich court that her partner is not a violent person. Kerry Cracknell said: "I could not believe it when the police told me what had happened.

THE girlfriend of a man who stabbed an off duty police inspector 15 times, told an Ipswich court today that her partner is not a violent person.

Kerry Cracknell said: "I could not believe it when the police told me what had happened."

Her boyfriend, Matthew Oakshott, of Byron Road, Ipswich, denies causing Graham Underwood grievous bodily harm with a Stanley knife but admits unlawfully wounding him after drinking around 15 pints of lager.

Ms Cracknell, who has known 25-year-old Oakshott for five years, told Ipswich Crown Court he was an "excellent" father, who had three children.

"I have not got a lot of patience with the children," she added. "When Matthew gets home from work he just takes over."

Ms Cracknell said Oakshott, an employee at the Port of Felixstowe, had never been short tempered or violent towards her or her children.

During the closing speech for the prosecution Martin Evans said Oakshott had got into a taxi in Lloyds Avenue, in Ipswich, with Mr Underwood, on January 26, and demanded to be dropped off home first.

Mr Evans said when the taxi arrived near 38-year-old Mr Underwood's home in Tuddenham Road, Oakshott also got out and punched the policeman.

The court heard how the taxi drove off with Oakshott's bag and £150 on the back seat, and Oakshott had become enraged.

Mr Underwood got him in a headlock and Oakshott used his work Stanley knife to stab his victim 15 times in the head, neck and hand.

Christopher Kinch, defending, asked the jury in his closing speech: "How come the injuries were not any worse."

Did Oakshott "intended to do real serious harm."

He said his client's actions were either that of a man trying to get out of a headlock or that of a man so affected by drink that he was unable to do serious harm.

Earlier the court heard that Oakshott had drunk between 14 and 16 pints of lager on the day of the incident and had no recollection of anything after leaving the Falcon pub in Ipswich at closing time and later the next day when he was interviewed by police.

He said that although he could not remember the details of his attack on Mr Underwood he believed he had attacked him with a modelling knife he used to cut straps and plastic at work.

He told the jury that he normally kept the knife at work but on the night in question had it in one of his pockets.

Oakshott who described himself as a normally non violent and placid person, said he had no recollection of taking hold of the knife and had not intended to cause Mr Underwood serious injury.

Asked by defence counsel Christopher Kinch if there was anything he would like to say to Mr Underwood, Oakshott replied: "I am sorry for the trouble I have caused him and his family and my family." He added, that he felt ashamed of what he had done.

Giving evidence yesterday Mr Underwood, who has been an officer with Suffolk Constabulary for 20 years, described how a night out with friends in Ipswich ended with him staggering home with blood pouring from 15 separate wounds to his neck, head, and hand.

Mr Underwood had been waiting for a taxi to take him home shortly before midnight when Oakshott, who he had never seen before barged to the front of the queue.

Oakshott who had been drinking in pubs since finishing work insisted on sharing a taxi with Mr Underwood and demanded that he be dropped off in Byron Road. When Mr Underwood climbed in the front passenger seat of a taxi Oakshott had climbed into the rear of the vehicle and had become upset and angry when he realised the taxi was heading for Tuddenham Road where Mr Underwood wanted to be dropped off.

When the taxi stopped in Tuddenham Road Mr Underwood had paid the driver and got out and was followed by Oakshott who told him he was going to sort him out.

Oakshott had punched Mr Underwood in the face and ignored him when he said he didn't want any trouble.

"I was worried about what to do. I didn't think it was worth running because he didn't appear drunk and could have caught me up, so I decided to get him in a head lock", said Mr Underwood.

Oakshott had appeared to quieten down and Mr Underwood had let him go thinking the incident was at an end, however, as he headed towards his home Oakshott had come after him and began throwing more punches.

Mr Underwood tried to grab him again in a neck hold but Oakshott had hit him on the back of the head.

"The blows became sharper and were excruciatingly painful. I felt the back of my neck and could feel warm liquid coming out of the back of my neck and head. I really panicked. I was very scared and frightened. He managed to stagger home and was taken to hospital where he underwent surgery on injuries to his hand and received treatment to cuts on his head and neck. He spent two days in hospital.

Police Surgeon Dr Andrew Penkethman examined Oakshott at Ipswich Police Station a few hours after the attack and although he noticed the smell of alcohol on his breath he didn't feel he was "overly intoxicated".

He said in his opinion Oakshott had been fit to be detained at the police station and was fit to be interviewed.

Giving evidence Oakshott admitted that between the ages of 15 and 19 he had appeared in court for offences of dishonesty and had received punishment varying from fines to a six month detention order. He had no previous convictions for violence.

The jury was expected to retire to consider its verdict today.

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